Well internet, it looks as though we've got another shark photobomb mystery on our hands!

Image: Steph Bellamy

The photo in question (snapped by amateur photographer Steph Bellamy) captures the precise moment a shark leapt from the sea (insert sharknado joke!) during a surfing competition in Coffs Harbour, Australia Sunday. "I saw a splash and wondered what it was," Bellamy told the Coffs Coast Advocate. "When I checked the picture I couldn't believe it." 

Let's get the obvious questions out of the way: could the photograph be a fake? Could the animal in the photo be a dolphin or a sea lion? Yes. But many species of sharks do engage in breaching behviour while chasing prey (check out this blue shark jump!) and it doesn't escape the realm of possibility that it is one. 

Early reports suggest three possible culprits to this 'high-jump whodunit': the mako, thresher and spinner sharks. While all three species can be observed breaching, it's unlikely that either a mako or thresher would leap so close to land, since both are pelagic species that spend their time swimming far from shore. 

Shark biologist David Shiffman suggests another possibility: 

The jury's still out, but we can say for certain that no matter the species, these aerial antics had everything to do with chasing fish and nothing to do with munching surfers – a sentiment that Bellamy echoes. "[The shark] certainly wasn't after any of the mums, that's for sure. Everyone remained calm and there were no meltdowns," she said.

We'll be updating this post if any more conclusive news surfaces, so watch this space!

Top header image: Klaus Stiefel/Flickr